Bishop John Brungardt will resume his duties as bishop of the Diocese of Dodge City now that an investigation into a sexual abuse allegation has been completed, Bishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas announced Wednesday.
A press release notes that Bishop Brungardt stepped down from office for a period of 14 months following the allegation. He “voluntarily withdrew from the prosecution to facilitate the investigation of the allegation. During this period, the allegation was thoroughly investigated by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, following which civil authorities denied prosecution.
The Archbishop notes that following KBI’s investigation, church authorities conducted their own separate investigation into the allegation.
“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican has now determined that the allegation against Bishop Brungardt is not supported by evidence and the case against him has been dismissed.
“Bishop Brungardt has vigorously denied the allegation throughout, and he has cooperated fully with civil and ecclesiastical investigations. Throughout this 14-month period, Bishop Brungardt was entitled to the presumption of innocence under civil law and ecclesiastical law.
According to the statement, Bishop Brungardt expressed his gratitude to Bishop Gerald Vincke of Salina, who served as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dodge City during his voluntary absence.
“Now that Bishop Brungardt will return to office, he also expressed his appreciation for the thoroughness of both investigations and his readiness to resume public ministry, ‘to serve Almighty God and the good people of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.’ At the same time, Bishop Brungardt urges everyone “to pray and listen to all victims of sexual abuse.”